ParentFolk SS22

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For folk raising folk

SS 22. Modern Family Life





















CHESTER RACECOURSE’S FAMILY FUN DAY COLLABORATE WITH PARENTFOLK After the hugely successful Roman Day, Chester Racecourse is about to see their most popular family-friendly race day take on a festival vibe curated by Parentfolk. Chester Races Family Fun Day will celebrate in 2022 with a special collaboration with Parentfolk, the family space curators who have previously collaborated with CBBC, Camp Bestival Shropshire, NEXT, LUSH and Harvey Nichols Kids to create memorable family experiences. Parentfolk are renowned for creating cool family socials, completely different to regular family events, designed for ‘style junkies, foodies, dreamers and folk doing parenting their own way.’ They are set to transform the racecourse grounds into an inviting family space for ‘PlayFest’, where kids’ play meets summer festival, split into different zones, including a PlayZone, a MusicZone, MakeZone and EntertainZone. The PlayZone will incorporate Ikos resort beach, a beach play space in the heart of the city, where little ones can get busy with spades building sandcastles, as well as a football skills area, a BRIO play space and a Wonderbly imagination area. There will also be giant versions of retro popular arcade games brought to life. MusicZone will feature DJ BEATNIK, a world-famous DJ and Ministry of Sound resident who has worked alongside Beyonce,

Jay Z and Kelis. There will also be a kids’ Live Lounge where little ones can have a go at becoming the starring act, and the ever-popular silent adventure disco will be back with their choreography style dancing tours. Children can enjoy Face Art too to look the festival part. MakeZone and EntertainZone is set to drive children’s creativity and wellbeing. Alongside all this will be the traditional giant inflatables that family racegoers have grown to love. Louise Stewart, Chief Executive Officer, Chester Racecourse said: ‘We are so excited by the collaboration with Parentfolk for this years Family Fun Day. We wanted to encapsulate the feeling of a family festival at an accessible price point. Parentfolk are excellent at creating a fun family vibe, having produced many seasonal family socials, larger festivals, and event collaborations with the likes of CBBC, Camp Bestival Shropshire and MediaCity UK – there will be so many fun activities to occupy the children while the races are on.’ Family Fun Day tickets are available directly from

















Here, founders of By Elleven, Jo + Rachel share their top tips for nailing school run style. ‘Everything starts with good quality basics, t-shirts that look as good as new each time they are washed. Choose well and they will become the hardest working item in your wardrobe. By Elleven only use planet friendly Organic Cotton in all their t-shirts. Short sleeve white t-shirts are the best layering tool you can have, black is useful too and makes for a smarter option. Add in a long sleeve version and you’re covered on those days when you don’t need a jacket but it’s not quite warm enough for bare arms. Track pants are no longer relegated to Athleisure territory, a smart slim leg style with a cuffed ankle are the ultimate every day trouser. Grey is a great neutral, but black works well if you prefer a more slick look. A good pair of leggings - matt black, no logos, patterns or sheer panels, we all have them so put them to good use. Layers. No matter how stylish we’re feeling, let’s not forget this isn’t California, a sweatshirt or a hoodie may be needed at a moments notice. Tonal works, but we like to use it as an easy way to inject some colour. Tie your sweatshirt over your shoulders, trust us it works. With your base layers sorted it’s time to add in a structured blazer. Ideally slightly oversized but definitely nothing too slim or short, a more relaxed fit will balance out the proportions perfectly. For cooler days, add a long line trench coat in a neutral colour, we always go for Vintage as they just don’t make them like they used to. Time to accessorise. The humble baseball cap is the accessory we can’t live without, for good hair days and bad. Neutral colours like our Sand and Khaki work with everything, while all black styles with minimal branding sharpen up your look. A cross body bag is a must for all parents, one that fits in the essentials - phone, keys, purse, lip balm and tissues. But that’s never enough is it? We don’t leave the house without a Tote bag, space for spare clothes, wipes and snacks on family days and overnight trips, strong enough for your food shopping or your gym kit when it’s me-time. But what’s on your feet? New Balance is our trainer of choice, bright colours is our vibe but that’s personal choice. So is adding white crew socks, but if hidden trainer socks is more your thing, then that works too. We switch to sandals and slides when the sun comes out. And that’s it. Sound Easy? That’s because it is. Life is complicated, Style should be Simple.’


Time, that precious commodity that alludes all parents. It’s the thing I would gift my friends if it were possible, the thing we all believe having an abundance of would allow us to look and feel better. We would exercise more, read more and even dress better, because we would have the time to browse the shops, plan our outfits and perhaps even throw in a mani / pedi for good measure. Getting dressed each morning and feeling happy with your choice doesn’t require hours of planning or a huge budget. By Elleven have created a fashion formula that makes looking stylish everyday simple. They have factored in the school run which requires comfort, speed and minimal fuss, shown us ways to smarten up our everyday wardrobe and included layers for the unpredictable British weather.

Words by Jade Wright

A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE Katie Randall tells ParentFolk’s Jade Wright how her daughter Florence inspired her family portrait business, which celebrates diversity and balance Katie Randall has created more family portraits than she can count and, much to her delight, every one is different. “There’s no such thing as a normal family,” she explains. “None of us are the same, and so it was important to me to be able to represent the differences as part of every portrait.” She’s designed a series of templates which allow for thousands of variations in characters, how they look and what they are doing - and built in to it is that any visible disabilities can be included as standard. The concept was inspired by her nine-year-old daughter Florence, who has down’s syndrome. Katie had always loved to draw, and had grown up loving art lessons at school. But when it came to choosing a career, she hadn’t thought that the creative industries could be an option,


so followed a corporate path, with a busy role in marketing, commuting from Hertfordshire to central London each day. It was only after Florence was born and she gave up her job in the city that she began creating bespoke family prints, championing and celebrating differences, rather than offering a one-size-fits-all approach.

It began with drawing her own family seven years ago her eldest son proudly wearing his favourite football kit, her youngest son in his best dressing up outfit, and Florence holding her little doll.

“When friends and family saw it, they asked if I’d do the same, and before I knew it, commissions were coming in.” Katie realised that to keep up with demand, a templated system would allow families to create their own likenesses, but that the options should include characters that looked like every family.

“Whether it’s having characters in a wheelchair or with a stick, feeding tube or hearing aid, it’s about showing that all of these things are normal. “Of course, there are always things I haven’t thought of, and I ask families to let me know about those. When they do, I add them to their order and I put them on the templates, so next time someone looks, they will be there.” It’s part of Katie’s mission to show that families come in all shapes and sizes, something she’s been passionate about since Florence was born, and the doctors started doing tests. “Shortly after she was born I asked the midwife if it was normal that she was so floppy and tired. They did some tests, and I could see the doctor lifting her arms and they’d flop down, and I just had a nagging feeling. I asked if it could be down syndrome. “I’m not even sure where that came from, but I suppose I’d been aware that as I was over 40, my pregnancy was perceived as being higher risk. “We didn’t have the pre-natal testing that’s offered now, but nothing was picked up at our 12-week scan, so I had put it out of my mind.” But as soon as the tests began, Katie knew what the doctors were looking for. Once the diagnosis was confirmed, Katie and her husband Paul noticed a change in the staff’s tone. “They were doing their best, but there was a sense they were tip-toeing around us because everything was perceived to be so bad,” she recalls. “The information we were given was that there would be lots of medical appointments and how hard things would be. There was no balance, no indication of the great joy this wonderful new baby was about to bring into our lives. “When we looked online, it was the same, Google had page after page of all the negatives, without anything from families showing that, actually, there are lots of good times alongside the tough ones. It actually made that time in our lives much harder, because we felt sad for Florence, rather than realising what an incredible person she would grow into, and how lucky we were that she had chosen us.” It’s this search for balance, and for acknowledging that all families are different, that continues to inspire Katie’s work. “Our lives changed when Florence was born, and absolutely for the better,” she explains. “She brings so much joy to everyone she meets. “I also re-evaluated life, and realised that I was already run ragged between work and school drop-offs and pick ups

for the boys. While I’d loved my job, it wasn’t sustainable and it was only when I stepped off the treadmill that I had time to be creative and start to think about building my own business.” Business is booming, with families stocking up on portraits, mugs and greetings cards, proudly displaying their family likeness. “A lot are given as gifts, and the feedback we have is wonderful,” says Katie. “Often people are surprised that we want to cater for every family, but I hope that over time that becomes more common. “If we can help even one family feel more positive about celebrating difference, then I’m over the moon.”







Beach days WWW.NEXT.CO.UK







R BAG £24



Kickers (who have been synonymous with school shoes for over 50 years) are launching their first ever plant-based range of school shoes. This July, Kickers launches a plant-based material as part of its 100% vegan range (yes, even the glues) which is a lower-impact alternative to traditional PU leather.

The 23-pack range will launch across Kickers’ best-selling styles, with the plant-based material being PETA and vegan approved.

Kickers’ plant-based material is made from a mix of corn and cereals which is grown for non-food purposes and is 100% GMO free and FSC certified Viscose, while the remaining is synthetics (which ensures durability in footwear).

Additionally, in 2022 Kickers is taking action to offset some of its carbon emissions by planting a tree for every pair of Kickers footwear made. Kickers have an ambition to plant 1 million Mangrove trees.

With 5 times the durability when compared to traditional PU based products, Kickers are offering a vegan alternative to its iconic leather range, that doesn’t compromise on durability or style.

We love Kickers easy to use online sizing tool Forget the worry of making an appointment, simply order online using Kickers easy-to-use measuring tool to help you find the right size in three simple steps.

But how does it compare to Kickers’ leather ranges? Kickers’ plant-based material has gone through the same rigorous SATRA testing methods as the standard leather range. SATRA found its durability passed to the same industry standards as the leather range. This means that Kickers’ can offer the durability and quality that parents have come to expect from the brand, but in a plant-based alternative. Pricing is also like for like with the Kickers’ leather range, meaning you don’t have to pay more, if you want a different choice.

Plus, Kickers’ website offers Clear Pay, giving you the option to pay in four easy instalments; free delivery and returns as standard, making it super easy to pay and order from the comfort of your own home. And, from 4th July, Kickers will be launching a special Family Deal - buy 2 pairs get 20% or buy 3 pairs and get 25% off - fantastic for families buying multiple pairs of shoes. Shop the vegan range

Kick T Bar Vegan from £50

Tovni Trip Vegan from £42

Reasan Strap Vegan from £48

Kori Kilty Loafer £75

Exclusive Summer experiences at



Don’t worry though, it wasn’t all child-free time, theres so much to do to make best use of family time together during your stay at Hillside Beach Club. With windsurfing, canoeing, paddle boarding, diving, water skiing, boat tours and even sunset adventure tours you won’t be stuck for something to keep everyone happy. Activity spot, Artside, was a hit with our little ones, offering a great number of kid friendly activities (payable locally) such as pottery, t-shirt painting, mosaics and tie dying. Entertainment is available around the clock with a nightly entertainment schedule in the resorts own amphitheater which runs into the early hours.

Out + About

Fethiye town is a 10 minute drive away with local shops and restaurants in the old town or for a more modern setting head to the marina. Further out are the ancient Lycian Rock Tombs carved into the cliffside, or a ten mile trip to visit Oludeniz’s famous blue lagoon.

Our Hillside Resort Top 5: Situated on the famed Turquoise coast, and just a 50-minute transfer from Dalaman airport, Hillside Beach Club has a sole purpose; to bring out the best version of you. Yes, this one is all about you - refreshing, right? This hillside paradise has every possible activity on offer so you can do as much or as little as you wish. Built into the pine clad hillside, the 330 chalet style rooms have incredible 180 degree views of Kalemaya Bay. With crystal clear waters, it’s easy to see why this destination is such a hit with families. Family rooms are huge, with 2 separate bedrooms, a covered outdoor terrace space (perfect for an evening cocktail at sundown) - but with so much on offer for you and the kids, you won’t be spending much time in your room.

1. Sunset Adventure Boat trip. Jumping off the top deck then relaxing with a drink whilst the sunsets. 2. Sanda Natural Spa. Balinese Peace and Serenity in the tree tops. 3. Kids’ Clubs. Super friendly and engaging team. 4. Activities. The sheer volume of things to do. 5. Silent Beach. When the kids want a break from the adults, send yourself to the Silent beach and enjoy the gentle waves lapping against the beach.

Nightly rates at Hillside Beach Club start from £192. Rates based on two people sharing a standard room on a full board plus basis.

There’s lots on offer to fill your days at Hillside, too much to squeeze into a week, which gives a great excuse for a return trip. This is a resort that delivers for all of the family. With our little ones taking full advantage of the kids’ club areas, we enjoyed the silent beach- for adults only. We also made sure we visited Pasha, an ibiza-style beach club setting serving Mediterranean food in a pristine setting, again a spot just for adults.



Located in Chiswick, a leafy green suburb of London popular with families, Room2 is the world’s first whole life net zero hometel, meaning all the carbon emissions from construction, operation and through to the end of the building’s end life are all equal to zero. Built on the site of an old wallpaper factory, its large architectural style windows give old New York meets arts & crafts era vibes. The interiors of the hometel pay tribute to its wallpaper history with framed snippets of wallpaper from the original factory. Every inch of the design of this property has been perfectly planned and sourced.

HOMETEL FROM HOME ParentFolk check out Room2, the world’s first whole life net zero hometel.

This is one cool and curated spot. 100% of the loose furniture has been sourced within a 10 mile radius of the hotel. The carpets in the corridors are made from fishing nets, solar panels adorn the roof to supply enough electricity to power the bar and lounge lighting and heating. In fact the entire building is fuelled by renewable green energy. There’s a zero waste policy and recycling bins in ever room. With a jungle roof, a bug hotel and beehives the property is full committed to biodiversity in the area. We travelled with two kids, and our room was really spacious, even with a kid’s bed and travel cot. We also had a little kitchenette with a fridge, microwave, hob and a dishwasher and all the immediate things you’d need to function in your kitchen at home. However, we didn’t need to self cater as onsite Italian restaurant, Boca, is delicious spot for lunch or dinner, they even whipped up an off menu Spaghetti Bolognese for our toddler. Outside, the neighbourhood is mix of cool, with a plethora of independent lifestyle shops, a Sunday street market selling vintage wears, cafe bars and popular branded eateries too. Chiswick common is next to the hotel which on weekends is home to local football clubs for young children. Tube station (Turnham Green) is within 5 mins walking distance of the hotel, and with bus stops on the high street heading into central London is easy and accessible. Nightly rates start from £129 for a snug room.

Our Room2 top 5


1. Your room is allocated to you for a full 24 hours so no kicking out check-out by 10am (bonus) 2. Flexibility of making it a home away from home with the array of facilities in the rooms 3. Location – close to tube, and local area offering all you could possibly need for a great weekend 4. Exceptionally friendly staff on hand to offer advice on the local area, brilliant with kids! 5. A great base to explore the capital, but knowing you’re heading back for peace and quiet and a great nights sleep.



ParentFolk Sleepover:

THE CHURCHILL INN, LONDON Located in Marylebone, in the heart of the West End London, closely located (within walking distance) of Marble Arch, Oxford Street, Hyde Park. Hyatt Regency London, The Churchill, is a sophisticated and luxurious property that offers a warm welcome to families.

Honouring Sir Winston Churchill the property features stunning design detail and refined decor giving a subtle nod to his life and legacy. With 440 rooms inspired by Churchill’s classic British tastes, the hotel boasts delicious food and drink offerings too. From breakfast in The Montagu Kitchen, to cocktails in the Churchill Bar, and there’s even a Michelin starred restaurant Locanda Locatelli, serving Italian inspired food ( top tip - book in advance) The Churchill sits opposite Portman Square (a private garden and park with exclusive access for hotel guests), perfect for little ones to burn off some energy or to take a relaxing picnic. For our sleepover, we took over two generous sized rooms with huge beds - perfect for a family stay. With fresh flowers and an exquisite view over Portman Square these welcoming family rooms do not compromise on space or style. Molton Brown toiletries and kids bath time products, dressing gowns, and slippers were the perfect remedy after a day of touring the capital’s tourist sites. Nothing is too much trouble for The Churchill team, we love how younger guests take centre stage here and how beyond the finery of the decor and the exclusivity of the neighbourhood there’s a warm hospitality which makes families and their

younger members feel both comfortable and welcome (not always the case when staying in desirable hotels with a 2 year old in tow we can assure you). They’ve thought of it all at The Churchill, from complimentary activity packs and colouring pencils to the hotels mascot ‘Jock the cat’ plush toy, a perfect touch for nap time. Staying in the capital with kids doesn’t mean you have to forego luxury or first class hospitality. The Churchill has the luxury family stay curated to perfection. Book your stay:

Our Top 5 to do with kids in London:



Play & Picnic in Portman Square – square garden exclusively for residents of the hotel and long standing tenants and home owners in townhouses around the square Covent Garden – watch the street performers. The kids loved it and they welcome a small contribution for the show. Buckingham Palace – Changing of the guard British Museum – Kids go free with a full paying adult. Museum explorer trails designed for 1 or 3 hours to keep different ages interested, interactive trails using phones and ipads, and full filled activity backpacks for the little ones. Regent Park & Zoo – Oldest scientific Zoo with over 800 species

TRAVELLING WITH YOUNG CHILDREN ParentFolk discover the resort getting it right.

Having a young family shouldn’t stop you from travelling, but it should make you seriously consider where to stay - after all, this is a holiday for you as much as the little ones, so you’ll want to make it as stress-free as possible, enter Sani Resort. From accommodation to activities and kids clubs to dining, this is a resort built around you and your families needs - family friendly without comprising on style or luxury. Location Located on the stunning Kassandra peninsula in Halkidiki, 80 km southeast of Thessaloniki international airport, Sani is nestled in a peaceful 1000-acre reserve, surrounded by pine forests and beautiful beaches. For nearly 50 years it has set the benchmark for luxury hospitality in Europe, with world-leading facilities including a private marina, the Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre, the Chelsea FC Foundation and the Bear Grylls Survival Academy. Sani also hosts two globally renowned cultural events, Sani Festival and Sani Gourmet. We visited their Sani Club property during May, the weather is


warm and perfect for families with young children. It’s a popular family resort and the pre-schoolers are out in force here. The rooms are beautiful, in soft pastel blues and white, with comfortable furnishings, luxury bathrooms and all whims catered for. Service and guest satisfaction comes first here. Pack Light If you’re thinking that travelling with young children means hauling all of their belongings with them and maxing out the luggage allowance, think again. Sani have that consideration sorted too. We love that you can pre order all of your necessary baby/ toddler kit ahead of your stay - from sterilisers to scooters, push chairs to bottle warmers and everything in between. Taking the hassle out of your holiday is what Sani Resort do best. Dining Whether travelling with or without the kids, dining always features highly on our list. You don’t need to give a second thought to the dining options at Sani. From greek to Italian dining experiences, the resort has

over 40 dining options. We usually swerve a buffet style offering, but the buffet dining option at Sani is exceptional. From presentation to taste, it was a pleasure to explore the delicious dishes, made using the best seasonal local produce. We love that there’s a dedicated kids dining option at Sani too, fine dining isn’t just for grown ups, they even cater for babies and toddlers with a fabulous range of delicious baby food dishes from a bespoke menu created for Sani Resort by leading kids nutrition expert, Annabel Karmel. Activities Sun, sea, sand and so much more. From sunset boat trips, to archery and beach yoga to forest walks. At Sani your health and wellbeing comes first. With blue flag beaches, you can enjoy taking to the Aegean crystal clear waters. The Sani Resort Swimming Club is designed to help little ones learn the basics of swimming and improve their skills, within a safe, beautiful environment. With younger guests will become underwater adventurers in no time. Kids Clubs The in-house Little Guests team keeps kids content and

entertained with complimentary kids’ clubs. With a wide range of exciting activities each morning and afternoon, these sessions are curated for kids aged between 4 and 12. Offering kids the chance to learn new skills, make friends and explore the brilliant facilities including the magical pine forest all under the watchful eye of their highly trained and multilingual team. The kids are happy and you can have some much deserved lounger time. Family Holidays If heading away with younger kids in tow fills you with dread, you should consider Sani Resort. Sani Club make family holidays really feel like a holiday - it’s like some kind of magic wizardry once you’re in resort. First class service (they’re on hand with things before you know you need them), all the support you could need for a comfortable family stay, including all of your baby paraphernalia from home, plus plenty of fuss on tap to shower on your little ones, and more importantly- not one roll of an eye if you find yourself managing a toddler tantrum situation - although from what we saw little ones are having far too much fun to consider hitting the deck with demands. Find out more at www.

LUXURY RESORT QUINTA DO LAGO TURNS 50 European Sunshine meets Palm Springs style. We head to Quinta do Lago to see what’s on offer for summer ’22. When you travel as a family with kids, there are certain things that you want to bank on; smooth flight, easy transfers, accommodation that suits the needs of your kids without compromising on style and atmosphere for you. If you’ve been reading ParentFolk for a while you’ll know we’ve long been fans of luxury family resort, Quinta do Lago. Nestled in the sunny Algarve, Quinta is an away from it all destination, where families can do as little or as much as they wish to. We first visited Quinta do Lago back in 2018 on a hosted press trip. Since then we’ve visited many times for family holidays, from villa stays to return trips to The Magnolia. Why? Because it feels like a little bit of luxury. We love the cool vibes, the eclectic clientele, and the world class facilities and gastronomy across the resort. Fast forward to 2022, we’re post-pandemic, travel is in recovery and we headed back to Quinta do Lago to rediscover the resort, to visit new openings and to find out what’s planned for this, the resorts 50th year.


The resort The focus here in Quinta do Lago is family time and wellbeing, and quite frankly they’re our top two too! Spanning a massive 2000 acres, and just 15 minutes from Faro airport, the resort includes a natural reserve, miles of golden sand, golf courses, world class restaurants and some of the best sports facilities in the world. The property European sunshine getaway meets cool Palm Springs style at The Magnolia. With 74 rooms and 7 pastel cottages (sleeping up to 6), this place oozes charm and cool in equal measure. When it comes to breakfast we set the bar high, and The Magnolia doesn’t disappoint- with a delicious continental breakfast bar, traditional cooked breakfast and even an a la carte menu, every whim is catered for her. Poolside cocktails, squishy sun loungers and those all so famous candy striped pool towels, make pool days a dream. With an eclectic mix of guest, from families to golfers, twenty somethings to more mature guests the vibe poolside is as cool and curated as the property itself. Gastronomy features high on the agenda at Quinta do Lago, from family dining at cool sports bar, Dano’s, to new openings such as Umami. There’s something for all tastes.

Here’s our top 5 pick of where to eat during your stay. The Magnolia Hotel Restaurant The Magnolia Hotel brings you a Mediterranean experience to fall in love with. With it’s laid-back vibe, the resident chef serves up a variety of local dishes and international favourites in the perfect holiday setting. Experience traditional Portuguese dishes with a creative contemporary twist, like Portuguese-style sirloin steak, fresh grilled sea bass and the specialty seafood Cataplana, served in this modern setting. Dano’s The Algarve’s most stylish family sports bar and restaurant, you’ll love Dano’s. This family friendly venue in the heart of Quinta d Lago’s sports hub, The Campus. Without question the most aesthetically pleasing spots bar interior we’ve ever seen! The menu doesn’t disappoint either. With delicious dishes using the finest local and seasonal Portuguese produce, you can enjoy family time whilst enjoying a sports match screening. Dano’s you’re in a league of your own. Bovino Steakhouse The home of the finest steaks, award-winning cocktails, striking décor and a great atmosphere, all of which make Bovino the perfect destination for a memorable evening. In a bespoke setting, created by one of Europe’s most acclaimed designers, Bovino combines modern interiors with cooked-to-perfection food to produce the most exclusive steakhouse experience.



Casa do lago We have a soft spot for Casa do Lago. A nautical inspired, elegant restaurant in an incredible setting. Positioned on the lake in Quinta do Lago, this stunning restaurant boasts mesmerising views and a menu to match. Fresh and natural ingredients served to your table with first class service. KoKo Something delicious any time of the day, KOKO is the perfect family spot. From freshly made pancakes to speciality pizzas, mouth-watering burgers and tasty salads, plus homemade milkshakes, smoothies and a great children’s menu! ParentFolk tips for a great stay. 1. Transfer time from Faro Airport is just 15 minutes. (A win when traveling with kids) 2. Use über in resort. It’s a well oiled machine here. Reliable, quick, friendly and low cost. You can opt for electric vehicles to do your bit for your the environment too. 3. You’ll find a well stocked supermarket in Quinta Shopping lots of fresh produce and household name brands. 4. The Magnolia Hotel have bikes on site, so you can get out and explore the area on two wheels. 5. We love the live music at The Shack on a Tuesday and Thursday. (4-7pm) No reservations here, so arrive handy to get a great spot for light bites, cocktails and a sing a long.

HIT THE RHODES Getting the best out of your summer break doesn’t have to mean choosing between a beach break or a bit of town-centre buzz and culture. On the historically rich, sun-drenched island of Rhodes, it’s super-easy to curate a stay that combines both cultural sophistication and sand between your toes. Rhodes is the largest inhabited Medieval town in Europe - site of battles, commerce, and culture for centuries. Wander through its cobbled alleyways, dipping in and out of shops and cafes, visiting its historic sites along the way and immersing yourself in the ancient and the not so old too Mussolini sought to build a new empire here in the mid-twentieth century. The town makes a perfect base too for exploring pretty villages such as Kameiros and Lindos. The ultimate family stay in Rhodes has to be the Amada Colossos, a 5-star premium seafront resort overlooking the


Aegean Sea, offering the perfect contrast to the hustle and bustle of the city. With 699 rooms and 17 different room types - including sea-side and hillview guest rooms and spacious suites and villas with private pools - Amada Colossos has 16 superb restaurants and bars on site serving traditional Greek, Italian and Asian cuisines. This is the ultimate ‘premium all-inclusive’ property, where holidaying and relaxing is about as easy as it comes. We love the first class service here, the fantastic beach gazebos (additional charge payable locally), their incredible spa, kids waterpark and the first class dining available in the resort. Kids will be occupied with the host of activities and kids’ club entertainment too!

For more information on Amada Colossos, please visit For more information on Rodos Park Suites & Spa, please visit

SUMMER GETAWAY Days on the beach, picnics or road trips. The endless summer days call for adventures and day trips. For babies or juniors, weekends or daily explorations, LIEWOOD’s selection of bags and on-the-go accessories accommodates all needs, ages, and occasions. Summer adventures await - and that requires suitable bags for easy packing. LIEWOOD’s travel accessories make packing a dream. With water resistant outer and lots of pockets, we love the Menza nursery bag which gathers all necessities in one place to make a day on the go a bit more relaxed. With the Dove swim vest and the Gustav swim fins the adventure at the pool or on the beach is secured and, most importantly, safe. LIEWOOD’s new swim vest has a zip on the front, adjustable strap between the legs and packs easily. Get ready for summer







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GET CREATIVE THIS SUMMER!! The summer holidays will soon be here, which means 6 weeks of keeping the kids entertained! Engage your inner artist and get creative! Of course, the urge to create doesn’t automatically mean you feel confident putting paint to paper, but luckily Ravensburger has a solution.. Anyone can be an artist with CreArt! Each pack contains a range of incredible acrylic paints which come in easy-to-hold numbered pots. You’ve even got an easel to keep them all together. Then, simply follow the numbered painting guide on the canvas. Try to apply the paint carefully now! Once you’ve put together your creation, it’s time to display it. The CreArt for kids range comes with a frame, so you can proudly display your work of art anywhere! You could hang your work on your wall, or display it on your desk. Why not gift your work to your friends and family? There are so many different CreArt paint-by-numbers for you to choose from. Together they make up and create a stunning display, that you can be proud of painting yourself. You could paint one of the images from the many animal lover images or one of your favourite movie characters – from The Lion King, Miraculous, Frozen or Harry Potter! No matter what you’re into, there’s a CreArt for you, and there’s more to look forward to with plenty of designs coming out soon. There’s even an adult range if you want to buy as a gift for Mum or Grandma later in the year! Painting on a rainy day, a quiet day, as a gift or as something you enjoy, CreArt is a really great way of relaxing, and is super satisfying once you’ve reached the end and can proudly display your work!

Find out more at or visit the CreART pop up at ParentFolk’s PLAYFEST, part of Chester Races Family Fun Day, Sunday 31st July,




VANDALKIDS THE Sustainable Streetwear Brand Encouraging Kids Creativity

There’s a new kidswear brand on the block bringing high quality practical and comfortable gear for kids aged 3 to 10 without compromising on style. VANDALKIDS is the new label by ex-brand director and mother Kat Vandal and has been designed to encourage kids’ creativity and self-expression whilst incorporating parent-friendly features to help the clothes last and reduce their impact on the planet. The first VANDALKIDS collection is inspired by 80s street art with two gender neutral prints, Street Maze and Cheeky Graffiti loved by parents as much as by their kids. “I am passionate about creativity and colour. I believe creativity is one of the best tools for success and happiness, so I let my son explore, experiment, create and be messy,” says VANDALKIDS founder Kat Vandal. “From a practical point of view, I was tired of constantly washing and throwing away his worn-out tracksuits, while having too many clothes dedicated to various activities (for art, for outdoor play, for big occasions). It wasn’t good for me and it’s definitely not good for the environment. I realised there had to be another way. I made it my mission to create a range of kids’ clothes that could be worn every day, that would withstand the mess and the play and that would last. But that would also be stylish and fun to wear. VANDALKIDS clothes offer no compromise.” VANDALKIDS’ tracksuits include innovative features, such as water-repellent and abrasion-resistant shell on the hoods, chest, knees and back of the legs to ensure they are wipeable and can be washed less often, saving the washing pile and increasing the longevity of the clothes.

Offering resistance to carpet or grass friction, protecting the cotton fibres and helping them to last longer, VANDALKIDS have made tracksuits that remain breathable and comfortable, unlike traditional waterproof kids’ clothes. Plant-based prints on 100% Oeko-tex certified cotton, makes the style safe for both the garment makers and children’s skin. We love the loose fit, adjustable waist and ultrasoft stretchy cotton linings so they are comfortable to wear ever day and through a growth spurt! The VANDALKIDS Collection includes: StreetMaze Long Sleeve Top - £29 Cheeky Graffiti Long Sleeve Top - £29 StreetMaze Cotton Sweatshirt - £39 Cheeky Graffiti Cotton Sweatshirt - £39 Cheeky Graffiti Hoodie - £49 Street Maze Hoodie - £49 Cheeky Graffiti Joggers - £49 Street Maze Joggers - £49

travel products, and became a one stop shop for holiday essentials, from suitcases that double as scooters to black-out blinds and Plane Pal, their new aeroplane seat extender.

KEEP ‘EM QUIET With a bit of know-how, travelling with children needn’t be a hassle, as Keep ‘Em Quiet founders Carly and Dan Moosah tell ParentFolk’s Jade Wright Flying with kids is far from relaxing. For many families, getting there is much harder than being there, with a constant fear that young travelling companions will get bored, irritable, and noisy. Thankfully, Carly and Dan Moosah are experts at taking the stress out of family holidays. After a flight to Spain when their daughter Sienna (now six) was a baby, and son Dylan (now nine) was a toddler, they spotted a huge gap in the market for fun activities to entertain children during flights. Back in 2016, they put together bespoke KeepEmQuiet bags of goodies, with games, books, stickers, toys and snacks. “It was all the things I’d spent the time before our holidays buying from loads of different shops, all delivered in one bag,” says Carly. “Whereas I’d spent hours going to WH Smith for one thing and Boots for something else, trailing round the shops with kids in tow, this was a way of taking a bit of stress out of that busy time for other parents.” Their travel packs quickly became saviours for frazzled mums and dads, scooping up a host of consumer awards and even being used at the royal wedding of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank, to entertain their young guests. As well as the packs, they were also getting requests for other


“We tried to think about the things that we found really useful, and worked out how to source them from great independent businesses,” says Dan. “It’s all about being a step ahead. Having our own children definitely helps, and I’m always looking out for the latest toy trend. It’s great being a big kid again.” The family, who live in London, regularly travel to Spain and America. “We’re lucky to have friends in LA and family in Spain, so we spend a good chunk of the school holidays there,” says Carly. “We’d also like to think about going to some new places with the kids now they are a bit older. I’ve had some health issues in the last few years, and that’s made me even more determined - the plan is to see the world one trip at a time.” With a little bit of planning and preparation, you can make your travels as stress-free as possible.

Carly and Dan’s Top 10 Tips for flying with kids: 1. Make lists “Then make lists of lists. Planning is your friend,” says Carly. Thereis so much to organise, don’t leave it to chance. Rushing around at the last minute before you set off to the airport is the last thing you’ll want to do. This will only start your holiday off on the wrong note and cause you a lot of unnecessary stress. 2. Pack some snacks “No, pack ALL the snacks,” laughs Carly. W’hen we went to LA recently, we had a holdall full of snacks, and there still wasn’t enough. Our packs come with snacks, but I still pack extra.” Healthy snacks will always come in handy if you’re on a long flight or car journey. 3. Think about timings The route of your flight and the time that it sets off make a significant difference to your travel experience. “If you’re flying to America, choose a day flight there and a night flight back, to help with jetlag,” says Dan. Also, try to book the shortest route, direct if possible. Sometimes it’s prohibitively expensive, so check out sites such as Hopper, but as a general rule, keep the changes to a minimum. 4. Dress for comfort “We all have that comfortable outfit, don’t be tempted to dress up for a flight,” says Carly. “ The same goes for he kids,

particularly for a night flight.” Dressing up with layers will prevent your kids from getting too cold, and make sure they’re wearing comfortable clothes. If they’re going to be sitting in the same seat for several hours, they need to feel as comfortable as possible so they don’t end up fidgeting. 5. Bring a change of clothes for everyone “We have been vomited on more times than we can remember, and poonamis have a habit of covering parents too,” says Carly. “We’d always pack changes for the kids, but a change for parents is vital to avoid that sicky smell as you queue for security.” 6. Charge your screens “We aren’t anti-screens - whatever gets you by on a long journey is good by us,” says Dan. “Inflight screens are only entertaining for so long. Also, bring child-friendly headphones with you for your kids to listen to music or audiobooks. Make sure everything is charged and you’ve downloaded whatever they like to play or watch.” 7. Offer some new toys “These are a life-saver when you’re stuck on a long flight or drive with your kids,” says Carly. They will keep your children occupied for hours so that you can enjoy a relaxing time on the plane. Make sure to pack plenty of travel toys for kids in your hand luggage so that you can bring them onto the plane with you. There are lots of different toys that are lightweight and easy to carry that will do the trick. 8. Choose a window seat “Flying with kids is much easier when they are seated by the window,” says Dan. Plus, they are safer away from the aisle where there are hot drinks trollies and other passengers walking up and down.

9. Prioritise sleep “Sleep is the most important part of keeping little ones happy, so before you travel, think about getting things such as Plane Pal, which extends seats so kids can stretch out and lie down, or a SnoozeShade, which blocks out UV and light to make your buggy dark and safe from the sun - perfect for daytime naps on the go,” says Dan. “If there’s one thing we all need more of, it’s sleep.” 10. Plan your return journey “It’s easy to get carried away planning your outward journey, but the trip home can be harder, and you don’t even have a holiday to look forward to at the end of it,” says Dan. “Pack extra toys for the trip home, or pick up some while you’re away, and stop off to buy another huge bag of snacks,” adds Carly. “You can never get enough snacks.”

Carly and Dan’s essentials: Passport and plane tickets Phone or tablet Travel toys for kids Hand sanitiser Water bottles Headphones Nappies and baby wipes Glasses and medications Aeroplane seat extender

Carly and Dan’s tips for toys for long journeys: Building blocks Chewing rings Fidget spinners Stress balls Rainmakers Soft plushies Bumpy balls Drawpad or glowpad Family card games Sensory boards

Healthy plane-friendly food ideas: Crackers Cheese strings Nuts Granola bars or cereal bars Yogurt pots Dried fruit Fresh fruit Vegetable sticks and humous Pretzels Crisps Dried cereal


When Kirsti Hadley was told that her son Sonny was neurotypical, she knew they couldn’t be correct. But, she didn’t expect she would also be given a diagnosis along the way, as she tells ParentFolk’s Jade Wright. When Kirsti Hadley finally got a diagnosis of obsessive compulsive disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism for her son Sonny, the pair were so relieved they gave each other a huge high five. Little did she know then that her own diagnosis was just around the corner. “It was finally an answer after so many years,” she explains. “He was so thrilled. He was really excited that he was neurodiverse.”After struggling for an assessment, and then being incorrectly told that he was neurotypical, they could begin getting help from the school system. It was a journey that began when Sonny, now 10, was just a toddler. “He’s amazing, and my first child – my only child – so I have nothing to compare him to. I always called Sonny my wild


child,” says Kirsti, 48. “He’s always been full of beans and full of energy and curious about everything and just a really, really beautiful happy free child. He hit all of his developmental milestones, so I thought I’d just got a lively one. “We used to be at the play park on Sundays and I would watch all these other parents with these really placid children, reading books, and the parents would be sunbathing. Sonny was never like that. While Kirsti loved Sonny’s passion for life, there were times when she was exhausted by his energy. “I thought that was completely normal, but looking back now, the signs were all there, if anyone had known what to look for. “There were days when they’d have to peel him off me for school, but those signs are very hard to differentiate from just a child having a bit of separation anxiety. “He’s always really struggled to go to sleep. Neurodiverse kids often don’t make enough sleep chemicals and when they do it’s much later. “Also meltdowns – which are very different to tantrums. The

words get interchanged, but only when you see a meltdown can you see the difference.” But it’s one thing having signs, and another getting a diagnosis, as Kirsti quickly discovered. “There are so many problems so many challenges obstacles that you face as a parent of a neurodiverse child, even before getting to the diagnosis point,” she says. “The awareness is very much based on stereotypes, so when you think of an autistic child, you think of a child that can’t maintain eye contact, has no empathy, can’t engage or have friendships and none of that applied. “If anything, he has more empathy than most neurotypical people. He’d give really tight cuddles, to the point of squeezing the life out of people. We used to call that scary love – ‘oh he’s coming in with a scary love again’ and you’d see all his friends brace themselves. “ Despite the challenges, Sonny’s neurodiversity wasn’t picked up at school. “They’d say he’s quirky, he’s an enigma, and then it wasn’t until he was about six or seven that he started hand flapping, and I realised what was happening,” says Kirsti. “From that moment, it was about convincing the school to back us up to get the referral to the local authority for an assessment, which took us ages. “For whatever reason, local authorities are often resistant. “ Lockdown delayed things, and even when the assessment happened, Kirsti felt that it was rushed and superficial. “Sonny is a really bright kid, super bright. There are children that can’t recognize emotions from faces – he’s not one of those kids. He’s got loads of friends and is super sociable. “In an assessment situation they look at all those things, and they say ‘he’s got friends, he can maintain eye contact and he can read emotions’, so the result came back not autistic.’ At that point Sonny had already been waiting for two years. “That’s two years where you don’t have answers, where you don’t have the help that you need for your child, and they are not getting the assistance that they require at school. They’re still being taught in a very neurotypical way; they’re still being held to neurotypical standards. “It came to a head for me one night when Sonny was selling was in the bath and he looked at me and he said ‘mummy, why am I not fixed yet?’” “I thought I was going to burst into tears. He was like ‘you know I’ve seen so many doctors and I’m still not fixed’.”Kirsti resolved that night that she was going to find the answers. “I explained to him that there was nothing wrong with him at all, that he didn’t need to be fixed in any way, shape or form, that he was perfect as he was – but that there are two types of brain: a neurotypical brain and a neurodiverse brain. Neither one is less than the other, they’re just very different. I said to him ‘we need to find out if you’ve got a neurotypical brain or a neurodiverse brain and then that’s going to help us to get the teachers to teach you in the way that you need to be taught. It’s going to help you to understand yourself and it’s going to help us too’.”

Kirsti investigated her private medical insurance, but quickly realised it didn’t cover autism or AHDH assessments. “But, it did cover OCD, so I was incredibly lucky that the doctor agreed to give him a full neurodiversity assessment. That was like the golden ticket to get them to authorize the assessment, otherwise it would have been £1000, if we could even get a slot.”Rather than a brief appointment, the assessment was a full day, which allowed the psychologist to observe Sonny’s behaviour. “At the end of that day they then take away everything, but even before they did all of the analyzing of the material they diagnosed him. “The doctor was saying ‘Sonny, you have obsessive compulsive disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and you are on the autism spectrum’ and Sonny asked him ‘But am I neurodiverse?’. He was so happy to finally have an answer. “I cried happy happy tears because we finally got there. It had been such an exhausting journey to that point.”While researching Sonny’s diagnosis, Kirsti started to realise that she too was showing signs of a neurodiverse brain. “I went back to that particular psychologist and got an appointment with them,” she says. “Thankfully that was covered by insurance too. There’s a huge waiting list on the NHS, between two and four years long, and so many people are turning to the private sector for their diagnosis, out of sheer frustration and desperation, that private practitioners are now closing their lists. It’s a hidden pandemic.” Kirsti was also diagnosed as neurodiverse, and again celebrated finally getting answers to why she had felt different throughout her education and career. “I worked in creative industries and I’d always come up with 1000 ideas,” she says. “It was pinning it down to one or two that was the hard bit.” Now she and Sonny work together on Generation Alphabet, an Instagram page, soon to be a website and a community for families looking to learn more about neurodiversity. “There’s a lot of fear still, I think, around it,” she says. “It’s not terrifying – that hasn’t been our experience at all. It’s been a wholly positive experience. “But there’s a lot of families talking about all of this stuff in hushed voices, so it’s a secret around the children. I even know a lot of parents that haven’t told their kids about their diagnosis. “Sonny will come home from school and he says to me ‘mum, why don’t more kids know about neurodiversity?’ “The diagnostic system that is still used now isn’t really fit for purpose. Kids are slipping through the net. “So we are working together to bring other parents and their children together, to share information and resources and to say that actually, being neurodiverse is brilliant, and people shouldn’t be afraid.”

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Standfirst: From the whole family dancing under the stars to wild swimming and fancy dress, Jade Wright finds boutique festivals that will entertain adults and children alike

Camp Bestival Shropshire

Little Orchard

What: The stellar sister show to the Dorset-based jamboree is a new, stand-alone event bringing all the unique and essential family friendly elements of the original Camp Bestival to the heart of England. With lashings of family fun, little ones will be spoilt for choice as they step into a family festi-holiday, curated by Josie and Rob da Bank. No Camp Bestival would be complete without an epic musical line-up, including Fatboy Slim, The Proclaimers, Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, Shed Seven and Becky Hill, plus DJ sets from TV star Gok Wan and drag queen Jodie Harsh. Younger festivalgoers can see CBBC star Mr Tumble, Horrible Histories, Brainiac Live, and yoga sessions from Cosmic Kids. Where: Weston Park, Shropshire When: August 18-21 Website:

What: This charming Cornish party with big live bands takes place in the UK’s grooviest cider farm. Musical highlights will be provided by Feeder, Kula Shaker, and The Wurzels, plus there’s Grandma’s Funky Wardrobe and Sofa Derby, the Zen Den, an adventure club, silent disco, rattler Olympics and all that fabulous cider. Where: Healeys Cornish Cyder Farm, Penhallow, Truro, Cornwall When: Sept 9-10 2022 Website:

Cornbury Festival What: The last ever Cornbury - after 17 years - will see appearances by Bryan Adams, James Blunt, Ronan Keating, The Darkness, The Waterboys, Jools Holland, Mica Paris, The Magic Numbers, and plenty more. It also has a A VIP Village Fete, plus children’s workshops in circus, yoga, dance fit, songwriting, and storytelling, plus outdoor crafts, clay modelling, garden games, silly sports, puppet shows, balloon modelling and a big balloon show. Where: The Great Tew Park, Oxfordshire When: July 8 – 10 Website:

Towersey Festival What: Bill Bailey, Del Amitri, Turin Breaks and Howard Jones headline the Uk’s oldest running festival. Still family run, it started in the back garden, and three generations later, it is one of the most established folk and family festivals in the UK. It has dance workshops, wellbeing sessions, storytelling, comedy and circus. Where:Thame, Oxfordshire When: August 26 - 29 Website:

Deer Shed What: A three-day wonderland of music, arts, science and sport for all ages, set in the beautiful North Yorkshire countryside, there’s everything from robots to a laser maze and bottle rockets, a sports field and family wellbeing. There’s cinema, arts, comedy and a line-up including Nadine Shah, John Grant and Django Django. Where: Topcliffe, North Yorkshire When: July 29 - 31 Website:


Wilderness Festival What: This British boutique experience in a stunning nature reserve will see sets from Underworld, Jungle, Years & Years, and Roisin Murphy. The 10,000-capacity event promotes a ‘vast and unique program that celebrates each art with equal significance.’ Alongside the music there will be long table feasting, contemporary dance, yoga, a family field, and debates. Other artists booked include Peggy Gou, Jordan Rakei, Gabriels, Craig Charles, Billie Martin, and Willie J Healey. There are plenty of experiences for families to book, too, from horse riding to phone photography workshops, and foraging to screen printing. Where: Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire When: August 4-7 Website:

Latitude What: East Anglia’s biggest and most famous festival is back with a line up that’s bigger and better than ever before. The original headliner of the first ever Latitude back in 2006 Snow Patrol - is returning at top of the bill at Latitude 2022, alongside Lewis Capaldi and Foals. Comedy highlights include Frankie Boyle, Reginald D. Hunter and Russell Howard. There will also be conversations, poetry and podcasts, dance and theatre, and kids and family entertainment including Camp Greenpeace, a woodland hideaway, an Enchanted Garden for sword-fighting and a fabulous fun-fair. In case the sun shines, pack your swimming costume for lake swimming, too. Where: Henham Park, Suffolk When: July 21 - 24 Website:

Camp Good Life What: As summer turns to Autumn, Camp Good Life pops up on the historic Gladstone estate. A small, expertly crafted and curated festival, it has a capacity capped at the first 1000 people to buy tickets. Alongside the music line-up, chefs take to the festival’s giant open firepit to prepare and cook beautiful dishes to be shared by the audience, and

every festival ticket includes a voucher for a free meal every day. Families are well-served by the children’s campfire, a zone dedicated to family friendly activities, with nature trails, creative workshops, foraging, story time and all the s’mores they can eat. The whole place is family friendly and free to roam, plus there’s a dog circus. Where: Hawarden, Wales When: Sept 16-18 Website:


The Big Feastival What: Join The Human League, Anne-Marie and Stereophonics in the Cotswolds on the August Bank Holiday on Alex James’ beautiful farm. Chefs sharing their wares include Ravneet Gill, Thomasina Miers, Robin Gill, James Cochrran, Ching He Huang, Lee Tiernan, Lizzie Acker, Becky Excell, and grill legend DJ BBQ. A festival family highlight, the M&S Little Cooks Kitchen & Allotment, and Meet the Producers, will provide an amazing opportunity for children to learn about food and get hands on with some cooking too. There’s even an Early Risers’ Café, with hot drinks, bacon baps, smoothies and WiFi top ups Where: Kingham, Oxfordshire When: August 26-28 Website:


Photo credit: Nenad Obradovic

Standon Calling What: Bringing together big name headliners, the most exciting new acts, with an unrivalled arts, talks, comedy, wellness, crafts and children’s entertainment, this Hertfordshire festival is known for its inclusive family-friendly atmosphere. The kids’ line-up is headlined by Dick & Dom, with Horrible Histories Live and Mr Motivator, plus the famous Dog Show, themed costume parade, laser tag, swimming pool and hot tubs, all alongside music from Madness, Primal Scream, Sugababes, Sigrid, Gabrielle, Annie Mac, Craig David and Basement Jaxx. Where: The Standon Lordship estate, in the Hertfordshire hills When: July 21-24 Website:

Just So


What: This imaginative outdoor family adventure is based around magical stories and childhood escapades. Much more than a must festival, it has world class literature, arts, theatre, dance, comedy and creative pursuits. It’s a weekend of midnight feasts, curious creatures, hidden retreats, top notch food, drink and boutique camping. Just pack your imagination. Where: Rode Hall, Cheshire When: August 19-21 Website:

The Vegan Kids Festival What: Vegans families unite for a celebration of plant-based cuisine as BBC star Omari McQueen presenter of What’s Cooking Omari? will be joined by Freya Cox from the Great British Bake Off, alongside a main stage with three days of live entertainment. There’s a beautiful woodland area, outdoor cinema and silent disco, plus a resident astronomer offering a tour of the night sky, and a giant inflatable science dome. Families can spend time together in the wellness zone, with yoga, a gong bath and LED hula hoop class at dusk. Or, try the creative zone, with arts, drama and music. Camping numbers are capped at just 100 families, and options include bring-your-own tent or campervan right up to luxury glamping. Where: Sturminster Marshall, Dorset When: July 21 - 24 Website:




















BOY SMELLS Launched in 2016, Boy Smells is a queer-owned candle, fine fragrance and intimates brand redefining gender and identity in personal products by creating a new world defined as “genderful” – a revolutionary gender-inclusive category. Named ‘boy’ but packaged in ‘pink’, Boy Smells creates products that refute society’s outdated expectations of traditional gender roles, functioning as a contrast to the more commonly used erasure within genderless products while empowering users to harness their power from wherever they find it. We love this limited trio collection, comprised of three candles that illuminate a modern and fantastical take on nature around the world. Combining scent notes of foliage, fruit, and florals, the collection reflects the duality of what is traditional and radically new at once. Shop Boy Smells Votive Set for £76 with luxury retailers - Cult Beauty, Goodhood, Space NK and Osmology.


From wildlife watching and surfing lessons to train adventures and science discoveries, Jade Wright looks at fun days out with the family this summer.

Imagine That! The popular discovery centre has science shows and hands-on workshops. Running across a three-hour guided journey through an imaginative play world, art area (complete with car to graffiti) and science experimentation zone, the tour finishes in the slime factory where little chemists can make their own gooey slime and colourful bath bombs to take home. Look out too for a dry-ice show and a flurry of falling snowflakes in the science lab. Wavertree Technology Park, Liverpool, Adventure Parc Snowdonia Brave the waves this summer and learn to surf in the mountains.Consistent, perfect waves of harvested Welsh rainwater roll every 90 seconds at this purpose-built site, designed to be the perfect environment for all ages and abilities to learn how to surf safely. Join the friendly surf academy - with sessions for Little Rippers (age 5-7) and Groms (age 8-12). There’s wetsuit and board hire, and toasty changing facilities to warm up afterwards. Dolgarrog, North Wales,


Chester Zoo Meet the latest arrivals at the zoo - including a baby cotton-top tamarin and a highly endangered Philippine spotted deer. Easily a full day out, there’s plenty to see and do onsite, with 35,000 animals. From the redesigned lion habitat to monkey houses and tiger enclosures to the aquarium, it’s a full day out, so take a picnic, or drop into one of the many of the cafes across the site. Chester, Superworm trail Get a wriggle on at the new forest adventures, which follow Superworm and friends through Forestry England’s best-loved sites. Find out creepy crawly facts about our wiggly pink friends, and the rest of the cast of creatures in the Superworm story, the many unsung heroes of the forest. Trail packs are available at each site for £3.50 each, complete with a craft bag, superhero mask, activity sheets, stickers, and the trail map. Sites across England,

Junior Wetland Rangers Families can join in the fun to become Junior Wetland Rangers at WWT Wetland Centres this summer holiday. Follow in the footsteps of our rangers and help with a daily mission to save wetland nature. Pick up a free trail card and set off for a full day of


discovery and adventure and learn how to care for and protect our beautiful wetlands with a wide variety of wetland ranger activities including animal health checks, pond exploring, bird ringing, canoe and boat safaris, bug hunts and interactive role play sessions. The trusts centres are located in Arundel, Caerlaverock, Castle Espie, Llanelli, London, Martin Mere, Slimbridge, Washington and Welney). Wetland sites across the country, National Railway Museum The museum devoted to all things rail-related is inspiring little ones to think like engineers this summer with Innovation Platform, a new exhibition celebrating the inventiveness and ingenuity in rail. It highlights emerging ideas and extraordinary achievements from across the rail industry, and runs until 2024. Entry is free, but should be booked in advance, but there are optional paid-for activities, such as the Mallard Experience, where youngsters can the experience thrill of being on the footplate of the world’s fastest steam locomotive for £3. York, National Football Museum The museum devoted to the beautiful game has launched a new exhibition celebrating the women’s game. Coinciding with the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 tournament, the new exhibition,

Crossing the Line: the story of women’s football, chronicles the game’s early growth, the effects of the FA’s de facto 1921 ban, its survival and its resurgence in recent decades. It’s an exhibition of two halves. The first half tells the story of the women’s game up until the ban. The second half kicks off later in the summer, focusing on the present state of play within women’s football, from the grassroots up to the professional game. There’s also a series of talks, events and activities to engage with. National Football Museum, Manchester, Victoria and Albert Museum The V&A is back open seven days a week, with free admission - although pre-booking is still recommended. There are family-friendly workshops running, inspired by the Africa Fashion exhibition, London-based designer Malaika Carr and artist Onome Otite have designed a drop-in space for families to think about shapes, colours, fashion and architecture. Take a seat, tell a story and design your own colourful textile patterns. You will then be able to add your creations to the display wall. Kensington, London,

Cat Sims aka @notsosmugnow is a content creator podcaster and author who is still trying to figure the whole ‘adulting’ thing out. As she celebrates the release of her new book, The First Time You Smiled, a baby record book for parents with a sense of humour, she gives us her take on being a parent.

PARENTING: HATE THE GAME NOT THE PLAYERS We live in a world where people want to be able to put everyone into a box. They want to put some parents into a box marked ‘Helicopter Parent’ and others into a box marked ‘Attachment Parent’ and so on. Because I’m pretty open about how hard I find parenting there are some who firmly believe I should be popped into a box marked ‘Crappy Parent Who Complains A Lot About The Children She Chose To Have.’ Fair enough. Everyone’s entitled to an opinion but here’s what I think. I think two things can be true at the same time. I think we can love the bones off our children and find the job of parenting hard. I think we can be grateful for our kids but


also have moments when we wonder if we can find the receipt and take them back. I think we can find parenting 49% the hardest thing we’ve ever done and 51% the best thing we’ve ever done. But more importantly, I think we need to be able to talk about this without fear of being judged by other people who believe parents should be martyring themselves in the name of their children. We’ve reached a point in society, where good parenting is equated to putting yourself last, ignoring your own wants and needs and running yourself into the ground. The expectations put on parents are higher than ever: work like you don’t have kids and parent like you don’t work. Look after yourself but give all your time and energy to your kids. Be honest about how you’re feeling but don’t be honest enough so that you sound like you’re complaining or struggling. After all, parenting is the most natural state of

being for humans and by the way, you knew what you were doing when you decided to have children? Well I’m calling BS. I had absolutely NO IDEA what I was doing. I had no idea that breastfeeding would be one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. I had no idea what sleep deprivation actually felt like. I didn’t know a cloud of post-natal depression was going to descend stealthily upon me until I didn’t know up from down, left from right. I was blindly unaware of the amount of times I’d have to repeat every damn sentence until they actually listened to me. I was naïve to the mental torture I would feel in trying to get them to learn their spellings, or clean their rooms, put their shoes on, brush their teeth, go to sleep, or remember to flush the loo. Do any of these things mean I don’t love my kids? Nope. Do they mean that I don’t always love the job of motherhood? Absolutely. Parenting isn’t about perfection; it’s about progress. It’s about messing up, making up and moving on. As the wonderful Reese Witherspoon says, ‘If you’re not yelling at your kids, you’re not spending enough time with them.’ The family dynamic is always going to be messy and chaotic because that’s the nature of humans. I think kids are like flat pack furniture – they arrive with everything you need to create something cool but you still have to put it all together and mould it into something that can function on it’s own. Sure, there are some basic instructions but you’ll mess something up because you’re busy or rushing or just exhausted. There’ll be parts of the process you struggle with and other parts you find easy and enjoyable and by the time it’s built you’ll have felt the whole range of emotions: hopeful expectation, motivation, stress, anxiety, panic, frustration, joy, happiness and so on. With some luck though, your furniture will turn out to be a fully functioning part of your house that may have the odd imperfection but that ultimately, you love dearly and you’re pretty flipping proud of. So, in my 8 years of motherhood, this is what I’ve learned: people will judge you because they’re idiots but that doesn’t make them right. You’ll find yourself drowning in unsolicited advice which you can 100% ignore – I pretend to listen but secretly take that time to think about this season of Love Island, or the Duke from Bridgerton. I’ve learned to trust my gut when everything is designed to tell parents they don’t know anything in order to encourage you to buy all the things but try. I really do know what’s best for my baby. But I also know what’s best for me and, despite what everyone will want to tell you, that matters too. The First Time You Smiled £9.99 is out now, available at Amazon, Waterstones and independent book shops

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VACATION EDIT Summer breaks, weekends away and jetting off to the sun, are all back on the cards this summer. To save you from any wardrobe disasters, especially if you haven’t updated your summer style in a year or two, we’re here to provide you with some zero-hour packing suggestions for your summer getaways. Shop the edit

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THE PRE-PARTY, PARTY! Camp Bestival Shropshire party with ParentFolk ahead of new summer festival In a cool collaboration ahead of the hotly anticipated, Camp Bestival Shropshire, the Camp Bestival team joined forces with ParentFolk for a special bank holiday family social hosted at The White Horse, Chester Racecourse. Joined by special guest, Camp Bestival curator and DJ, Rob da Bank, families enjoyed a high energy afternoon of music, kid friendly pop-ups and entertainment. At the peak of the afternoon families were treated to a unique 2 hour set by party people, Junior Jungle, who brought all the MC fun and jungle dance vibes to the Cheshire family friendly venue. Camp Bestival collaborated with ParentFolk to mark the countdown to their new Camp Bestival Shropshire festival which will be taking over Weston Park, Shropshire 18-21 August 2022. Artists confirmed for Camp Bestival Shropshire include Fatboy Slim, Rag’n’Bone Man and chic chanteuse Becky Hill. Ensuring there is utter excitement for all ages at all times there is plenty of family fun with Horrible Histories: Terrible Tudors, Brainiac Live: Remixed!, amazing tricksters Extreme Bike Battle, CB royalty Mr Tumble and Mister Maker & Rebecca Keatley. Plus, there’s a host of good times on offer from Family Silent Discos and MC Grammar to Yolanda’s Band Jam, Kung Fu For Kids, a dazzling fireworks finale and much, much more. For tickets head to


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